Growing up poor, eating out was a luxury my family rarely enjoyed. But if my dad got lucky on a scratch off ticket or my mom hit it big at Bingo, you could bet your sweet ass our family was headed to the nearest all you can eat buffet. How else do you satisfy six different appetites at one sitting for a bargain of a price? Until the day John Tesar can put a cheese enchilada, fried chicken leg, salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and green jello all on one plate for 10 bucks, I will continue to pull a Meghan Trainor and be all about that buffet. But it’s not a free-for-all, there is some etiquette that needs to be observed.
Honor the Sneeze Guard
The quarter inch piece of plexi-glass separating your face from my dinner is my reassurance that you aren’t breathing germs all over everything. I know, the sneeze guard’s protection against foreign agents is about as safe as Presby’s safeguards for their nurses against Ebola. That sneeze guard satisfies my peace of mind when you aren’t maneuvering your body under the sneeze guard like you’re escaping from Shawshank just to get one piece of chicken. Get busy living or get busy dying but do both above the sneeze guard.
Don’t Be a Vulture
I see you hanging out at the fried shrimp, pretending to text on your phone, just waiting for the next trough of over battered shrimp to come out of the kitchen. That’s fine, just don’t take all of the freaking shrimp. It’s like fried shrimp just became currency and you plan on diving head first into your pile of fried shrimp like Scrooge McDuck. Grab enough to hold you over and then let everyone else have a turn. And if there are still some left when people have dispersed, treat yo self,
Follow the Flow
Just like reading a book, buffets should move left to right. Don’t think you are entitled to immediately go after the macaroni cheese just because you don’t care for vegetables. Get in line, wait your turn, and then scoop your food. Also, don’t take your sweet ass time putting the food on your plate. It holds up the line and chances are you aren’t going to eat everything. This holds especially true if there’s a carving station. I am eyeing that ham just as much as you are - it’s not an exit off of 635, you don’t get to drive all the way to the front and hope someone lets you in.
Take What You Want But Eat All You Take
Ah yes, Confucius’s Golden Rule. This benefits the restaurant and the consumer. Not wasting food means more food for everyone else which means lower prices. You know what happens when you load up your plate only to push it to the side because you suddenly realized the extra 6500 calories wasn’t worth it? Golden Corral starts a ridiculous promotion where you get to take home six yeast rolls after buying two adult dinner buffets. They are trying to entice people to buy two adult dinners just to bring home rolls. I’m sorry but after eating at Golden Corral, the only thing I am bringing home is shame and guilt.
There are no rules at the dessert bar
Congratulations, you saved enough room in your stomach to warrant a trip to the dessert bar, now you might as well go all out. Do you want soft serve in a cone? Pull the lever and make yourself a two foot cone. Pack that ice cream into the cone like you’re trying to avoid the luggage fees at the airport. Ice cream getting too tall? Flip it and throw it into a bowl and then top it with that burnt bread pudding. Enjoy your masterpiece and don’t forget to tip your server, they are cleaning up that mess after you.